Ever since “The Practice” went off air Wednesdays have never been the same. The season ended with Lindsey Dole being arrested for murdering a stalker who pretended to be Hannibal Lecter. A terrorizing thought by itself.

Anyways as usual I spotted another interesting piece of news this morning. At the age of 18 a person named Haradhan De had been arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly being involved in a political murder. After 14 years he was released at the behest of the Governor who directed him to be brought back to the “mainstream”. Soon after being released he applied for a temporary job in the security service at the Kolkata airport and was recruited inspite of his past record. He started leading a normal life and got married as well. Two years later the Supreme Court ordered the Airports Authority of India to give permanent appointments to the “casual employees”. Except him all other workers were made permanent. This time the past barred the way. Currently the matter is sub-judice as De has petitioned in the High Court. AAI on its part is “yet to take a decision”.

De’s post-release lifestyle and efforts at mending his ways are commendable. Yet people in soceity tend to have very stringent dispositions about the accepted levels of the good, bad and the ugly. AIDs victims, remarried widows, erstwhile criminals are examples of the “deprecated” set. Criminals are sent to reform schools to correct themselves and in some cases to be kept away from the otherwise normal life of the general populace. In the first case few do come back realising their mistakes and regretting their fallacies of the past, wishing to spend the remaining days like any other citizen. When we get to know of tales like that of Haradhan De we laud their efforts and turn up our noses at the people who have been giving him a raw deal. From a safe and impersonal distance taking decisions is often an easy task. But if the same gentleman had been living two houses away? Would he be like any other neighbour? Would shaking hands with him be an easy task? Would we visit his house for a laid back chat or send our children over to play? Probably not. We would not like our own image to be tarnished by making friends with a “jailbird”. We question his intentions and attitudes. Not just him but his entire clan of family and friends. Such duality of thought paves way for further ostracism and inadvertant hindrance to the reformation in the soceity.

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